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21st century food


coriander The first decade of the 21st century looks set to build on the eating trends of the 1990s, with the variety of ready meals and snack foods increasing yet further.

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Dish of the day

Today we can literally eat a different nation's cuisine every day of the week.

The influence of Thailand on our food, for instance, can be strongly felt and people in Britain have developed a real taste for the aromatic flavours of Thai-influenced cuisine.

But alongside the growth in international cuisine, it's interesting to see the revival of old British favourites with a contemporary twist - traditional sweets such as bread and butter pudding, and even offal dishes, are emerging on restaurant menus.

The potential is there to eat healthier than ever before - it's just a matter of choice.

Food facts

The large retailers are examining how they can further develop what they call 'home meal replacement', competing with takeaway outlets and constantly developing new ways to attract the busy shopper.

Choice

However, in other ways, some trends suggest that eating habits are coming full circle and the dominance of standardised, industrially-produced food is ending.

The success of organic food, premium meat and other specialist products has revived an interest in smaller-scale production.

While the large white loaf still has the largest market share, supermarkets now sell more than 200 different types of bread, from focaccia to naan, representing cuisines from across the world.

Shopping

Internet shopping has led to the reintroduction of home deliveries, though these tend to be from large supermarket chains rather than local firms.

But while some aspects of cooking and eating may seem to mark a return to earlier times, the scale of change since the 1950s can hardly be exaggerated.

Back then Britain was still hit by rationing in the wake of the Second World War, and Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953 was marked by everyone getting an extra 1lb of sugar and 4oz of margarine. How grateful would we be to get that now?